|Joe Mauer gives Oswaldo Arcia a quick hug after|
the Twins broke their five-game losing streak Monday.
His time to be a factor in the Minnesota Twins lineup will come. His time is not now.
Making room for him means something other than bouncing Aaron Hicks. It means moving out one of the corner outfielders, or the first baseman, or the designated hitter — Josh Willingham, Chris Parmelee, Justin Morneau or Ryan Doumit. Arcia gives the Twins five guys for four positions, and none of the five have the skills to be useful in center field.
The Twins on Monday had Arcia in left — a position he has seldom played in the minors — with Willingham sitting the game out with a reported illness. Darin Mastroianni played center and led off, with Hicks sitting with an inflamed slump. And Parmelee was in right field, as usual.
But Hicks did play Monday as a defensive sub for Arcia, with Mastroianni shifting to left field. And the rookie had one of his better plate appearances of the season, working a base on balls after falling behind 1-2.
It was the kind of grinding at-bat Hicks had frequently during spring training and that was missing for the first 11 games of the regular season.
One good plate appearance doesn't wash away three dozen bad ones. But it should remind us of why the Twins came into spring training hoping that Hicks would claim the center field and leadoff job — because of the three candidates he was the one who best projected to fit the role.
Two bad weeks at the plate — and they were bad — aren't enough to change that.